July 19, 2005

July 19, 2005 | Commentary on

Hannity and Colmes Edwin Meese

SEAN HANNITY: I’m Sean Hannity. Joining us now Ed Meese is with us from the Reagan administration. Thanks for being with us.

EDWIN MEESE: Thank you. Good to be with you again.

SEAN HANNITY: Do you know this judge?

MEESE: I know him well. I think the President is to be commended for his outstanding appointment. An outstanding nomination.

HANNITY: It seems he followed through on his process. One issue that we haven't gotten to yet, he has not really weighed in on a lot of disputed social issues. Abortion rights groups already are weighing in against him. And they maintain that he tried during his days as a lawyer in the first Bush administration to overturn Roe v. Wade. "Roberts did help write a previous that said the following, we continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided." in 2003 when questioned about it he said roe vs. Wade is the law of the land. There’s nothingin my personal reviews that would prevent me from applying that precedent. Should he have to answer any more than that?

MEESE: I think he's answered it exactly correctly and it would be wrong since there are going to be a number of issues that will be before the court that derive from Roe against Wade. Remember what he said in that brief as he was representing the people of the United States reflected the majority of all the legal scholars when Roe was decided. Now most people thought it was wrongly decided not from the standpoint of the policy issue but just on the basis of the law and that the so-called rights that were found were not in the constitution. So he was being accurate both as a lawyer and as an advocate at that time.

HANNITY: Back if 2003 he was excoriated by senator Schumer who was a hard left-winger for not answering these specific questions but most nominees will not answer those questions. Ruth Bader Ginsberg was not forced to answer these questions and was approved.

MEESE: As a matter of fact it's now known as the Ginsberg rule for a Supreme Court nominee because it would be wrong to try to be pinned down. Senator Schumer is not really trying to find out what's in John Robert's mind. He’s trying to find a basis to vote against him.

HANNITY: I have no doubt he, Leahy, Kennedy, and others will -- Durbin will find a way to vote against him. What recommendation -- you've been through some tough battles. It was 1987 had Ted Kennedy excoriated Bork. What advice would you give to the White House seeing on the horizon the Dick Durbins, the Kennedys, and their predictable anticipated attacks? What should they prepare for?

MEESE: I think they should recognize what was done then, that shameful speech by Teddy Kennedy, and they have to be prepared. I hope they will have advocates on the floor of the Senate who will truthfully describe this nominee. I think that then it's important the public learn the truth and not get the candidate simply as it's been conjured up by these extreme left-wing special interest groups to whom people like Schumer and Kennedy cater all the time.

ALAN COLMES: It seems to me -- good to have you back on the show.

MEESE Thank you.

ALAN COLMES: you want to pick a fight with Democrats saying ahead of time that Democrats are going to be mean to this guy. It hasn't even happened yet.

MEESE: Nobody wants to pick a fight, Alan. I wish that the Democrats would treat this nominee and all of President Bush's nominees as well as the Republicans when they were in the majority, treated Bill Clinton’s nominees. They treated them with great respect. They treated the Supreme Court nominees -- remember, Ruth Bader Ginsberg was further to the left than any person who has even been suggested might be appointed by President Bush. And yet she was confirmed, I believe 96-3. . Steve Beyer, who worked for Ted Kennedy, for Pete’s sake, he was confirmed 87-8. Now that they found they were qualified, that they had the integrity, the temperament, those kinds of qualities and that's why they were confirmed. John Roberts has all of those qualities and ought to be confirmed.

COLMES: And they were consensus candidates. Ruth Bader Ginsberg had a moderate record prior to the nomination to the Supreme Court.

MEESE: Well, John Robber has a moderate record as a judge in question of being true to the law. Ruth Bader Ginsberg since that time you could hardly say she was a constitutionally faithful judge.

COLMES: Let me ask you about this, the issue of abortion where he had an amicus brief and said that Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and then in his confirmation hearings in 2003 said it is a set law of the land. Is it fair to ask him in a confirmation hearing which of those positions he would take as a member of the Supreme Court? Because they seem to contradict each other.

MEESE: No, they don't. As a judge of the court of appeals, he had the responsibility of carrying out the decisions of the Supreme Court. On the other hand if an issue came before him as a Supreme Court judge, he would have to look at what the law is at the time, what the facts are of the situation, and probably Roe against Wade as such is not going to come directly before the court but there will be things like the partial birth abortion and other things that derive from that case, and that's why it would be inappropriate for him to comment on Roe against Wade during a hearing on his present position.

COLMES: If he believes it is the law of the land, is that an indicator he would not vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade and can we take that in that meaning, in that context?

MEESE: It would depend entirely on the facts of the case brought before him and it is the subtle law for an appellate court judge, as I mentioned. There may be issues that would come up for the Supreme Court in which he will have to rule based upon whatever the arguments and the law and the view of the constitution is at that particular time. It would be inappropriate for him to answer any questions about Roe against Wade because they're not being asked, you know, to help discern what john Roberts' judicial temperament or his approach to being a judge is. They’re going to be asked by people who are mean-spirited who want to harpoon him and use those answers or his refusal to answer as a means for voting against him. If they do, let them vote against him but let him have a vote, an up-or-down vote. He represents what the people are looking for.

HANNITY: He seems mainstream and Ruth Bader Ginsberg is on the far left.

COLMES: She had a moderate record.

MEESE: How can you say that when she was for the ACLU?

HANNITY: Thank you, Mr. Attorney General. Good to see you. That is all the time we have left tonight. We will of course have lots more coverage on this issue tomorrow night.....

About the Author

Edwin Meese III Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow Emeritus
Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies

Interview from Fox News